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T & L Update

Monthly update from Assistant Superintendent to district faculty and staff.


Welcome to the Teaching and Learning Spotlight

Academic Year (2018-2019)

Spotlight for June 2019

As the 2018-19 school year comes to a close, we take one last look at some of the things that were accomplished recently and begin setting the stage for next year.

On Thursday, May 31st the Curriculum Professional Development Council held its last meeting for 2018-19.  The majority of the day was structured around four groups, each responsible for one topic, completing their tasks and receiving feedback from the other groups to help inform the work.  The first group reviewed the revised SRBI Framework, forms, and graphics that the SRBI/SAT workgroup had drafted and finalized the documents that will be implemented in the fall.  The second group conducted the annual Teacher Evaluation and Development Model review and made one recommendation for a language change that will be presented to the BOE at their June meeting and some additional recommendations for the PDEC committee to consider.  The third group completed a SWOT analysis on the Homework Policy that was adopted at the start of the school year.  And the last group worked to identify 8-10 key skills that could be measured within our curriculum across all disciplines.  They also began drafting operational definitions for each skill and providing observable events or conditions that could be independently measured or tested for.  This work will be continued next year in conjunction with creating the vision of the graduate as part of the NEASC work.  Additionally, the 6-12 School Counseling department presented their findings and recommendations to the Council from their curriculum review and then the Council members engaged in a reflection activity based on the findings to provide feedback to the School Counseling department.  Finally, we recognized and thanked those members whose CPDC term has ended for their insight, contributions, and commitment to improving teaching and learning.  Jenna Aylsworth, Pamela Baclaski, Andrew Brochu, David Conway, Andrea Galuska, Andrew Riddle, and Betsy Sanborn.  Next year the Council will meet on October 17th,  January 30th, and April 23rd.  

The K-12 Science Vertical Team met for two days in May to review all of the evidence and reflections from the various grade levels that was submitted as part of the curriculum review and revision process.  Additionally, the team utilized all of the documentation in Eduplanet to complete their evaluation of the curriculum, compile their findings, and make recommendations.  The Vertical Team will present their findings and recommendations to CPDC in the fall.  

The ELA Vertical Team held their third meeting in May.  As a result of this meeting, the team drafted a literacy vision and belief statements.  For each belief statement the group compiled the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that aligned with that statement from earlier work of the team.  Next the group developed goals for each statement and identified what the goal would look like when fully implemented with fidelity and what we need to do to get there.  All of this information will be compiled into an action plan and the team will reconvene in September to continue this work.

Earlier this month the Capturing Kids’ Hearts Workgroup, comprised of one Process Champion from each building, continued the work that was started in March to recommit to the EXCEL model.  The group created a brochure that defines each letter of the model and includes three ways to support students for each area.  The EXCEL model is centered around building relational capacity, developing leadership skills, and supporting social emotional learning.  The document will be shared with everyone in the fall.

The Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC) held its first meeting on June 11th.  The meeting began with the group receiving an overview of the purpose, goals, roles, and responsibilities of the newly formed Committee.  The remainder of the time was spent discussing how best to structure professional development and possible topic areas while being cognizant of the necessary alignment with the Avon Blueprint for Excellence, district, and building professional development needs.  The group will meet again on August 26th to finalize the professional development focus area(s) for the school year.

As the Connecticut state testing window came to a close on June 7th, we would like to thank everyone who contributed to a smooth, successful test administration at all five schools.  In all, Avon finished with a 99.58% participation rate, which accounts for over 5,000 individual assessments given in ELA, mathematics and science to students in grades 3-8 and 11. Special thanks to Thompson Brook and Pine Grove schools for hosting visitors from the Connecticut Student Assessment Office.  We are also excited to share that Brendan Lynch, grade 5 teacher at TBS, has been selected to participate in the Smarter Balanced Math Item Content Review and Item Writer Training this summer in Seattle, Washington.  He will be a member of the Grade 4-5 committee.  

The Avon Public Schools 2019-2020 Common Assessment Calendars: Secondary Assessment Calendar and Elementary Assessment Calendar are linked here for your reference as you begin planning for next year.

And finally, thanks to one and all for your continued hard work to help every student feel connected and meet their full potential.  Have a wonderful summer full of relaxation, rejuvenation, and reading.  

Calendar of Events
June 18-21    Summer Curriculum Writing, AHS Community Room  8:00 - 3:00
July 9            Summer Curriculum Writing, BOE Meeting Room 2   8:00 - 3:00


Welcome to the Teaching and Learning Spotlight

Academic Year (2017-2018)

Spotlight for September 2017

Welcome back!  The 2017-18 school year is off to a smooth start. We will officially launch the new  school year on Monday, September 11th during Convocation.  Convocation will begin at 1:00 in the high school auditorium following the morning professional development sessions which will run from  8:00 to 12:00.

Once again a number of teachers returned to school for a few days to work on curriculum this summer.  We greatly appreciate the time and hard work each of these teachers contributed to writing and revising  district curricula.  During the summer work teachers developed the newly approved student support  courses for the high school while others worked on advancing curricula for world language, visual arts,  technology education, and secondary English and math.

At the August Board of Education meeting, the Civics curriculum was presented and adopted. Civics is  taught in grade 12 and is a required course for graduation.

This year, certified staff will notice some changes to the Teacher Evaluation and Development Model.  In the area of Goal Setting statewide mastery test results may only be used to inform SLOs and IAGDs, plus artifacts are no longer required to be uploaded in ProTraxx for the Focus Area or Parent Feedback.  In the area of Teacher Performance and Practice, the required Review of Practice is now a Review of Collaborative​​ Practice and both the pre-observation and post-observation forms have been  restructured utilizing Domains II and IV.  The new forms are located on the District website under the  Department Teaching and Learning​ tab.

The Connecticut State Department of Education has provided districts with student test results for all  state assessments taken in the spring of 2017. Student scores have been provided to principals to review  and share with staff.  At this time, student performance data is for internal use only.  Individual student  score reports are expected to arrive later this month and will be mailed to parents at that time.

This year Connecticut school districts will experience changes to how students are assessed in Science.  While students in grades 5 and 8 will take the Connecticut Mastery Test for Science, students will also  participate in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Assessment Field Test. Test windows  have been established for this field test to be given to students in grades 5, 8, and 11. Grade 10 students, who traditionally took CAPT Science, will no longer be tested in this grade.

The Avon Public Schools 2017-18 Common Assessment Calendars: ​Secondary Assessment Calendar  and ​Elementary Assessment Calendar​, and ​Professional Development Calendar​ are linked here for your reference as you plan for the year. Please note revisions have been made to each since being published in June.    
Calendar of Events 

  • September 11 Grade Level/Department Professional Development 8:00-12:00 
  • September 11  Convocation, Avon High School Auditorium 1:00 
  • September 19 Visual Arts Curriculum Writing,  AHS Community Room 
  • September 20 Performing Arts Curriculum Writing, AHS Community Room 



Welcome to the Teaching and Learning Spotlight

Academic Year (2016-2017)

Spotlight for September 2016

Welcome back!  As everyone returns to school refreshed and ready to launch the new year we’d like to  share with you some updates from the summer.
Directly following the close of school,  a group of teachers returned for a few days of curriculum  writing.  The high school Community Room and library were filled with teachers working on curriculum  for K-5 Science, Spanish, Latin, Grade 7 Social Studies, Grade 7 and 8 English Language Arts and the  Early College Experience (ECE) courses offered in English Language Arts.  We greatly appreciate the  time and hard work each of these teachers contributed to writing and revising district curricula.      

In August, Connecticut school districts received student test results for the CT School Day SAT and  Smarter Balanced Assessments taken in grades 11 and grades 3-8 respectively.  Avon students continue  to perform among the top in the state on both assessments. While student performance has been  summarized by grade and district averages and shared publicly by the superintendent, student scores will  be prepared and distributed at the building level. Individual student Smarter Balanced Assessment  reports are expected to arrive later this month and will be mailed to parents at that time.  In addition to  this year’s student results, the Connecticut State Department of Education has provided districts with  rescored 2015 Smarter Balanced results for the English Language Arts portion, without the performance  task, allowing for accurate student growth comparisons to be made from 2015 and 2016.  In 2016, the  ELA performance task portion was eliminated from the series of required assessments to reduce the  amount of testing time for all students.  Results for the Science CAPT and CMT are also scheduled to arrive in September.     

The 2016-17 ​Avon Public Schools Common Assessment Calendar​ shared with everyone in June has been revised to reflect changes to the test windows for state assessments. The most notable changes are  the movement of the CMT, CAPT and CT School Day SAT test dates from March to April, and the  condensed test window for all state assessments.  The changes are the result of the Connecticut State  Department of Education’s decision to compact the testing windows to minimize the interruptions to  instructional time.

Finally, the Curriculum Professional Development Council (CPDC) will have its first meeting of the  2016-17 school year on October 20th.  The council will be seeking new members to serve on this  committee for three years.  In preparation for this first meeting Jaclyn Lawlor and Mary Labowsky will  guide math teachers in all schools through the first review of curriculum using the district’s revised  curriculum review and revision process.   
Calendar of Events  
❖ September 12 Grade Level/Department Professional Development 8:00-11:30  
❖ September 12  Convocation, Avon High School Auditorium 12:30 
❖ September 29 French and Latin Curriculum Writing,  AHS Community Room  
❖ September 30 K-5 Science Curriculum Writing, AHS Community Room 


Welcome to the Teaching and Learning Spotlight

Academic Year (2015-2016)

Spotlight for November 2015

The month begins with the first full day for department/grade level based professional development. Administrators and coordinators have developed trainings and activities to support the curricular needs of each  department/grade level. The district welcomes educational  consultants from CREC, UConn and Learning A to Z  who will be providing some workshops and facilitating instructional planning with various teams.     

After much hard work and collaboration, the 7-12 Social Studies Curriculum will be presented to the Avon Board  of Education at the November 17th meeting.  Betsy Sanborn, Social Studies Department Coordinator will present  on behalf of the department. Also in November, World Language and Wellness continue to work on the revision  of their K-12 curricula, while a vertical team of Science teachers will begin work on the K-5 Science curriculum.     

November brings the District’s first Capturing Kids’ Hearts Process Champions training. Process Champions are  teachers and administrators who act as mentors, helping their colleagues apply and master all aspects of the  Capturing Kids’ Hearts methodology. The twenty participants involved in the three-day training will learn how to  mentor colleagues in implementing Capturing Kids’ Hearts concepts and skills, respond to peers’ questions about how to handle specific student situations, model key skills and behaviors, and support peers in developing  self-managing groups.  
Calendar of Events  

  • November 3 Election Day Teacher Professional Development   
  • November 4 - 6 AHS/AMS Instructional Coaching   
  • November 5 Technology Council  
  • November 9-10 AMS Parent Teacher Conferences  
  • November 11 K-12 World Language Curriculum Writing with A. Zmuda  
  • November 12 K-5 Science Curriculum Writing with A. Zmuda  
  • November 12-13  AHS Parent Teacher Conferences  
  • November 17-19 Capturing Kid’s Hearts Processing Champions 

Additional Curriculum Work  

  • November 4 Grade 3 English Language Arts  
  • November 6 Grade 3 Mathematics  
  • November 9 Grade 4 Mathematics  
  • November 10 Grade 4 English Language Arts  
  • November 13 Grade 2 English Language Arts  
  • November 20 Geometry  
  • November 23 Grade 8 English Language Arts  
  • November 24 Grade 2 Mathematics 

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